Friday, December 20 2019 16:26
Karina Manukyan

Ecologist: 2019 was marked by an unprecedentedly active struggle of  local residents against mining companies

Ecologist: 2019 was marked by an unprecedentedly active struggle of  local residents against mining companies

ArmInfo. 2019 was marked by an unprecedentedly active struggle of local residents against mining companies.

As Inga Zarafyan, head of the EcoLur NGO, said at a press conference  on December 20, in the outgoing year a number of communities in  different regions of the republic strongly opposed several projects  for the development of mining deposits. This, in particular, concerns  the Vazashen community in Tavush, Tsovinar - in Gegharkunik, Gladzor  - in Vayots Dzor, which said their categorical "no" to the projects  for the development of gold ore polymetallic deposits.

According to the expert, the activity of local residents in upholding  their rights to a clean environment is understandable: in recent  years, when implementing a number of mining projects, companies have  failed to fulfill promises made to the population. This, in  particular, concerns promises of employment at the mine, payment of  decent compensation for land, and so on.

At the same time, as Zarafyan emphasized, the credibility of the  competent authorities is also undermined, because, for example,  inspections that go on a signal can only record violations within  their powers. Thus, the burden of judicial red tape and the further  struggle against unscrupulous business entities lies entirely on the  shoulders of the affected citizens.   As an example, the ecologist cited the situation in communities  affected by mining waste from the Akhtalin deposit, where local  residents were left almost alone with the problem of pollution of  their lands.  A similar situation of the struggle of the local  population with economic entities has developed not only in the  mining industry. As Zarafyan noted, it is not the first year that a  violation of the norms established by law has been observed in the  construction of small hydropower plants. From year to year,  environmentalists point out problems with maintaining ecological flow  and the negative impact of small hydropower plants on ecosystems.  First of all, the local population suffers from this, since  hydroelectric power plants practically deprive them of irrigation  water.  ,  Zarafyan  emphasized.

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